Staff Editorial “Speak now or forever hold your peace”

recession2The victims of the sweeping statewide budget crisis are numerous. Stories of reduced class sizes, increased tuition and fees and mandatory furlough days for faculty and staff are now part of our lives.

As a student newspaper, we find ourselves in a precarious situation. We feel it is our responsibility to provide accurate and compelling stories at a time when our campus and community need it most. Access to information has never been more crucial, as students and faculty struggle to comprehend the complexities of a budget crisis that seems to have no resolution in sight.

The frustration, fear and anger held by many faculty, staff and students is palpable and growing. As student journalists who are experiencing similar challenges as our fellow peers, we appreciate the need to spotlight both the positive and negative aspects of being a part of the CSUN community.
The students of California State University, Dominguez Hills must have had similar feelings about their campus. Also hit hard by the budget crisis, their stories mirror our own. There is however, one major difference.

The administration at CSUDH, in an effort to cut costs and save money, decided it prudent to do away with the student newspaper. As the print product was killed, there was no online version to supplement the need for student media.

The CSUDH community, for all intended purposes, finds itself without a student media to represent it.

The consequences of such a drastic measure on the part of CSUDH administration are profound. It is difficult to grasp how many students, journalism majors and otherwise, will lose the chance to gain experience and knowledge working for the newspaper.

Or how many stories of student success and hardships will go unnoticed. And most importantly, how can we measure how the community at CSUDH will react to the policies implemented by administration if they have no independent outlet to do so?

What happened at CSUDH could either be an isolated incident or a sign of things to come. If more college campuses begin to cut away student newspapers, and countless other programs, on the basis of fiscal responsibility, what exactly will be left?

How much are we as students willing to sacrifice when it comes to the quality and scope of our education?

Imagining a campus without a newspaper paints a bleak picture. At a time when information, and access to it, is a high commodity, we must be diligent in ensuring that everyone has equal right to it.

But in using CSUDH as an unfortunate example of a campus deprived of its student media, the aftermath will have to be closely studied. Just as with the budget cuts, there is a lot of outrage, but little action.

If the campus of CSUDH accepts the loss of their newspaper with indifference, then it will set a precedent on the value and importance it will place on student media.
It is time for us to realize that we must fight for the things we value and that we have the right and the responsibility to do so. Let’s not come to this realization before it’s too late, before we are told that disposing of free speech is a way to save money.